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Wednesday, March 06, 2019 @ 9:04 AM

A history of access to justice | Sam Goldstein

What the term access to justice means has evolved over time since it first became an issue in the early 1970s to describe the growing concern that class should not be a barrier to obtaining legal advice from a lawyer on how to assert your legal rights. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 05, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Indigenous legal traditions of stewardship and the rights of nature | Angelique EagleWoman

Indigenous peoples worldwide have a deep and abiding relationship with the earth. The Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere commonly refer to the earth as “Mother Earth” and regard her as providing sustenance for all life. When you observe the material objects that surround you on a daily basis, it becomes quite apparent that everything we touch, own, wear, travel in and use as human beings is derived from the earth’s resources. Thus, in a prayer from my Dakota Nation culture, we call upon the earth “who sustains all life and provides for all that lives.” ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 05, 2019 @ 8:30 AM

Rehabilitating Canada’s pardon system | Anthony Doob

About one in seven Canadians has a criminal record. Some years ago, the government of Canada responded to the demonstrated fact that most people who have been convicted of an offence, will, after a crime-free period of a few years, never again commit a criminal offence. ... [read more]

Friday, March 01, 2019 @ 12:51 PM

Wilson-Raybould affair: A primer on ‘legalities’ | Heather MacIvor

On Feb. 27, former federal Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould made troubling allegations about disregard for the rule of law at the highest level of the Canadian government. She told the House of Commons Justice Committee that the prime minister and his most senior advisers, along with the clerk of the Privy Council and the Finance minister, sought to interfere in the prosecution of Quebec-based company SNC-Lavalin on charges including the alleged bribery of Libyan officials. Over a period of four months, she said, she had been repeatedly “urged … to take partisan political considerations into account — which it was clearly improper for me to do.” ... [read more]

Thursday, February 28, 2019 @ 11:18 AM

Common social media concerns for lawyers | Kim McLaughlin

Nobody understands compliance better than a lawyer. It’s no wonder then that lawyers often hesitate when it comes to public communications via social media. In my experience, the big concerns are giving legal advice, confidentiality and solicitation. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 @ 2:37 PM

Legal regulators need to consider what they are called | Darrel Pink

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society recently decided not to change its name. Given that Nova Scotia has been the leader in reforming legal regulation in Canada; the Law Society of Ontario recently modernized its name; and it’s likely the public has no idea what the barristers’ society does, this was an illogical decision. One can never be surprised when a status quo prevails, but the decision certainly does not speak to putting the public first. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 @ 12:17 PM

Your Honour: I tip my wig to you | Marcel Strigberger

I retired from my litigation practice in the Greater Toronto Area after over four decades in the trenches. I often wanted to express my thoughts about judges in general. All lawyers know they are supposed to act with courage and candour. ... [read more]

Friday, February 22, 2019 @ 10:42 AM

CRA less concerned with correctness than size of reassessments | Dale Barrett

In any self-reporting or honour system like we have in Canadian taxation, there must be a means by which the state can verify the correctness of information provided. Enter the audit — a component of such a system, which is both necessary to encourage taxpayer honesty by deterring cheating and necessary to uncover inadvertent errors. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 1:22 PM

Some problems with mandatory pro bono | Scott Reid

In a recent interview with The Lawyer’s Daily, Chief Justice of Canada Richard Wagner announced that to reduce delay and backlog “lawyers realize that they have to do something also, pro bono work, for instance.” Allow me to be blunt for a moment. The chief justice is, respectfully, out of touch if this is his solution. ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 @ 1:53 PM

Real shame of Lavalin affair | Sam Goldstein

A deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), or as the Canadian Criminal Code refers to it — remedial agreement — is an agreement entered between a prosecutor and a company alleged to have engaged in fraudulent behaviour. The effect of the DPA is to suspend a criminal proceeding while the company simultaneously denounces its behaviour by paying out financial restitution, adopting remedial measures or enhanced reporting requirements, or allowing third-party oversight. The Crown’s side of the agreement is that it withdraws or stays charges. ... [read more]